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Ng Going Down the Road No One Wants to Travel

There is no question Kim Ng has something that sets her apart from everyone else in baseball who might become general manager of the Dodgers.

She might be the only one willing to take the job.

Lucky for the McCourts, I guess, that they didn’t notice her earlier, or she might’ve disappeared during one of their firing binges.

Foxsports.com reported Wednesday that “Ng could get the Dodgers’ GM job,” and she might be “busting baseball’s old boys’ network any day now.”

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Page 2 is all for that. We’ve already had the first Screaming Meanie become president of the Dodgers, the first Tipper Gore spokeswoman to become the team’s flack, and the first female reporter to supposedly run off with a starting Dodger pitcher.

The Dodgers have all the makings for their own version of “The View.”

Several media outlets have recently quoted baseball executives praising Ng’s qualifications, as if any baseball executive is going to publicly knock someone who could become the first female GM in baseball.

Her promotion is picking up steam because folks are saying nice things, which has to play well with the McCourts because when was the last time anyone said anything nice about anyone working for the Dodgers?

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WHEN THE McCourts dismissed Paul DePodesta, they had no plan to fill the void. They sought permission to speak to Pat Gillick, and that was all the incentive he needed to take a job with the Phillies.

John Hart, a loser in Texas, is still a candidate, although he reportedly said he’d like to keep working as a Ranger advisor. Maybe he just doesn’t want to burn any bridges given the McCourts’ record for hiring and then firing.

New York Times’ columnist Murray Chass, writing this week under the headline: “Dysfunctional Dodgers Are Far From Camelot,” suggested it’d be a “smart move,” and “what a change that would be” if the Dodgers hired Washington GM Jim Bowden. Only one problem: Bowden said he doesn’t want to talk to the Dodgers.

Chass also reported that Camille Johnston, Gore’s former press aide, “urged” him not to write about the Dodgers until he had spoken to McCourt. McCourt, however, didn’t return his calls.

Maybe he shouldn’t have told the Dodgers he was calling from “the Times.”

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ONE OF Ng’s strong points, we’re being told, is she tutored under Dodger GM Dan Evans -- as if that’s a good thing. How quickly we forget. Evans played himself out of a job because he lacked the common sense to see what went wrong with his predecessor, Kevin Malone, and made the same PR blunders.

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Ng is supposed to be different. She likes to hang in the background, and while I don’t think that’ll fly in the Entertainment Capital, it would allow Tom Lasorda and Bobby Valentine to hog the spotlight.

According to published reports from Japan where he’s managing, Valentine and the media are fighting, which tells me he’s in training to deal with Plaschke and become the next Dodger manager.

Valentine told the Daily Yomiuri, “I expect to get an offer from the Dodgers that will be very hard to turn down.” He also said he wants to stay in Japan, and like Hart, I guess he understands when the McCourts hire you, it’s only to fire you eventually.

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LASORDA HAS said the Dodgers will add Orel Hershiser to the front office, and allow him to learn on the job.

So how come the Dodgers haven’t called Kirk Gibson? The Dodgers are in need of a jolt, and Gibson’s working as hitting instructor or bench bully might juice things up.

Gibson probably doesn’t have the experience to be a manager, which is a shame, because there’s probably a reality TV show here -- with the grouch forced to talk to the media before 162 games, and then after each one. Survivor, indeed.

Gibson laughed when I mentioned that, and raise your hand if you’ve ever known him to laugh. He’s changed, he said. So have the Dodgers.

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“The O’Malleys are gone,” he said. “But Dodger blue is something that still means something. It represents consistency; that’s what everyone remembers about the Dodgers -- competing year in and year out.”

Like I said, the Dodgers have changed.

“Do I think I could make a difference? Did I really believe I could hit a home run off [Dennis] Eckersley? Yes, I was ready for the challenge. My passion was football, it was way easier for me and I’d have been a No. 1 pick, but what did I do? I turned around and played baseball, and I was ready for that challenge. Give me another challenge.”

As you know, behind every successful woman there’s a man, and if the Dodgers hire Ng, they’re going to need someone to divert the attention for a while from such a controversial -- and payroll cheap -- in-house promotion.

I think giving the media the chance to chew the fat before every game with Gibson and Jeff Kent might just do that, because in no time everyone will be looking forward to dealing with Ng.

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TODAY’S LAST word comes in e-mail from Mike:

“I just got an email from the Dodgers telling me to ‘join the season-ticket or mini-plan family today.’ I’m no expert, but can a baseball team play without a manager or GM? They must be able to do so, otherwise this would be a total insult to any sensible fan’s intelligence, right?”

The Dodgers drew 3.6 million fans last season; they know how smart fans are.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.


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